Giving or Getting

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

In a culture which seems to be moving towards an attitude of everybody getting what they can get, the Bible teaches that real life is found in giving, not in getting. This runs counter to marketing schemes and popular culture.

Nathan Miller is from Prattville. He gave a very special Christmas present this past year to a little boy. He gave him the opportunity to live.

He had learned about this five-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with a rare case of leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Nathan did not know the little boy, but he learned that his bone marrow might be a match that could save the boy’s life.

Nathan works with the Montgomery Water Works. He is also a part of a Marine Reserve Unit headquartered in Montgomery. It was through this Reserve Unit that he joined the bone marrow registry.

Nathan was one of eight people who might be a match for this little boy. He was selected. He spent Christmas in a Washington, D.C. hospital, in order that a little boy might have a lot more Christmases to spend in the future. His recovery would take two or three weeks once he came back to Alabama.

Nathan doesn’t consider himself “a hero.” He didn’t want to draw attention to himself. He just wanted to give. While that little five-year-old boy in Washington, D.C. has a new physical life, I have a hunch that Nathan has a greatly enriched life because he knows he did something special to give life to somebody else. He knows the meaning of the verse, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

I recently was with a beautiful young mother, Christi Millo. A few years ago she and her husband were sitting in their Sunday School class and a prayer request came from a fellow class member who needed a kidney transplant. There was not a match for the young man to receive a kidney. Christi asked her husband if it would be alright if she was tested to see if she might be able to offer one of her kidneys.

Christi was a match. She volunteered to give a kidney to a Sunday School class member. She didn’t know the person well – but it was a person in need and she said this is just what Christians and Sunday School class members do for each other. She donated her kidney.

I was with Christi recently and introduced her to some people. I just commented about this story. The people could not believe that she would risk her life to save the life of someone else. Christi then just looked at all of us with her infectious smile and said, “I just regret that I don’t have another extra kidney so I could do it for someone else!”

Giving is not just something we do at Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries. It is something that we do every day of our lives. And the best gifts are not those that we go out and purchase – it is when we give of ourselves spiritually, emotionally, and physically to someone.

Giving beats getting every time on life’s scoreboard.

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